As the Fiesta Movement comes to a close, I'm thinking about what might come next for me...and considering how I got here in the first place!
A common question I've been asked from friends, family, and even media, has been "Do you get to keep the car?!"
The answer is no. Would I like to keep the Fiesta? Of course! But keeping it was never part of the deal.
I've said repeatedly, even before the Fiesta was in my hands, that I have confidence that my part in the Fiesta Movement will lead to something. I've never pretended to know what that is - partly because I don't want to limit the possibilities.
Trust me, I've dreamed up many scenarios! In my MIND, I've gotten to keep this Fiesta, I've been given a brand new US Fiesta, I've been given other cars, I've gotten jobs, I've been given my own travel show, I've become famous for my photography projects, I've gotten to meet my idols and so on and so forth.
Do I really think any of these things could happen? Call me crazy, but yes.
Do I EXPECT them to happen? Not any one thing in particular. But it IS leading me to something.
Every time I've been passionate about something, it has paid off in unexpected ways.
How did I GET to the Fiesta Movement? Well...let's go back to college in 1991...
- I graduated from Oyster River High School in Durham, NH in June of 1991. I was 17 years old and didn't have a driver's license. I didn't need one, as a week later I moved to NYC.
- That fall I started my first year at NYU - my number 1 choice of schools.
- While at NYU I got a job at the NYU Bookstore to help pay for books and food and entertainment and such.
- Two years later my family couldn't pay for my expensive tuition anymore. Luckily, I'd made a good impression and the NYU Computer Store offered me a full-time position, which not only gave me a salary but also FREE tuition.
- While working at the computer store, I became familiar with...well...computers! And got email and AOL before most people I knew were there.
- I decided I wanted to learn HTML and needed a website to build. I was obsessed with a tv show on NBC called Boston Common. I wrote them a letter telling them that I wanted to build a site and they proceeded to send me episode lists, headshots, bios, scripts, etc. for my content!
- I flew out to LA for a taping of Boston Common, met the cast and crew - who all knew who I was - and had a great time!
- When I finally graduated from NYU (after many years of going to school part-time), my full-time work experience and my BA in English Literature landed me a job at the Disney Channel.
- The woman who hired me liked me so much that when she left to work for Bravo and IFC, she brought me with her.
- Less than a year after moving to Bravo, my story about Boston Common led to the offer of a promotion into the newly formed Digital Media department.
- By chance I scored tickets to the premiere of the film Keeping the Faith, where I met Edward Norton. A couple months later, I still had a song from the film ("Heart of Mine" by Peter Salett) in my head. I found out that Peter lived in NYC and was performing the following week.
- I got to know Peter by going to his shows. One night I brought 14 people with me to go see him at a small venue. He asked me if I wanted to work for him.
- One night I attended a concert at Town Hall with Peter and his childhood friend...Edward Norton!
- I was still working for Bravo and IFC, but my side work for Peter got me interested in Marketing. I started taking classes at NYU.
- My classes and my work for Peter led to another promotion into the Ad Sales Marketing department.
- Not long after that, NBC bought Bravo. I was the only employee in my department to survive that move.
- After 2 years at NBC, Universal came on board. There was a possibility that I would be laid off, so I applied to graduate school, just in case.
- When I wasn't laid off, I decided I still wanted to go back to school! I quit my job and started the MBA program at Fordham University Graduate School of Business.
- In graduate school, I worked as an graduate assistant for the head of the Deming program. As a result, I met a great friend. We inspired and motivated each other. She moved to California when she graduated.
- In casual conversation, I learned that my Law professor was also a photographer. He introduced me to Flickr.
- One day I woke up in severe pain and was rushed to the hospital where I had emergency surgery. The doctor told me that if I'd arrived half an hour later, I might not have made it.
- I re-evaluated my life. I started seeing things differently. I began taking photos every day and posting them to Flickr, where I built an online community.
- One of my Flickr friends encouraged me to start a blog and get on Twitter. He helped me raise money online for my first digital SLR.
- By the time I got my MBA (with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management), I was getting photography jobs and decided to delay the possibility of a corporate gig.
- An artist by the name of Rick Baker happened to see a photo of me in the "Everyone's Photos" section of his Flickr home page. He favorited it. Months later, we fell in love.
- I moved to Los Angeles to be with Rick, with no driver's license and no car.
- In LA, I was reunited with my close friend from graduate school. She had just learned she was going to have a baby and was going to be a single mother. I became her birth partner and was there when she delivered her son. Being part of the experience is one of my most treasured experiences.
- I submitted something to the NY Times for a story they were doing about "failed resolutions", telling them about my inability to get my license.
- After seeing it in print, I was motivated to take driving lessons. By the middle of January, 2009, I finally had my driver's license at the age of 35.
- I began planning a cross-country trip with no car and no resources.
- A friend of mine told me about the Fiesta Movement. I submitted a video. My story, along with my constant social media activity, landed me a Ford Fiesta.
- 6 months. Free car. Free gas. Free insurance.
I took full advantage of the situation, as most of you know! And now my time with the Fiesta is almost up.
I don't know what's next...but maybe after reading this you can understand why I'm so optimistic that it will lead to SOMETHING!
I'm looking forward to whatever that may be...